- Whoever you are, wherever you work, you now have easy (even free) access to online document management.
- You can now edit the documents you store online (many of them, anyway) right in a web browser.
- Storing documents online, using either Windows Live SkyDrive or Microsoft SharePoint 2010, now enables new technologies such as the ability to simultaneously edit the document with other people in different locations.
If you’ve not yet ventured into the cloud—even if online or simultaneous editing doesn’t pique your interest—there are many good reasons to explore your online options. From providing an online backup copy of important documents (if you’ve never had a hard drive that failed, you probably will one day, and it might just be your backup drive) to enabling you to more easily share large files (it’s easier to instant-message [IM], text, or email a link than a 20 MB file), online document management is an easy win-win option. What’s more, even free services like the wonderful Windows Live SkyDrive provide advanced document management tools like access control and versioning.
Most of the capabilities discussed in this excerpt are available when you save your documents online to either a SkyDrive folder or SharePoint 2010 library. So, what are your options?
- Large and midsize businesses can install Microsoft SharePoint 2010 in their organization to create a secure and powerful online Intranet solution that goes way beyond document management.
- Businesses of any size can subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 for a Microsoft-managed online solution that goes well beyond SharePoint.
Note: At the time of this writing, Office 365 was in beta and anticipated to become available for subscription later in 2011.
- Home and small-business users can get a free SkyDrive account with 25 GB of online storage and many of the same tools that are available to SharePoint users.
Which Service Is Right for My Business?
So why say that SharePoint 2010 onsite is for large businesses, and SkyDrive is for home or small-business users? Of course, any business that has the need can purchase and install SharePoint 2010 onsite. And nobody checks the size of your business when you sign up for SkyDrive (SkyDrive signup is available on an individual basis, not by company subscription). The classifications used here are based solely on what typically makes sense for user requirements.
The benefits of installing and running your own SharePoint server (such as being able to manage everything related to your online presence entirely within your own firewall or creating custom online applications) often justify the costs of such an endeavor for larger businesses, but may be cost- (and resource-) prohibitive for smaller businesses.
Similarly, anyone can sign up for SkyDrive, but most businesses have content management and communication requirements that exceed what such free services offer.
Between these two options, the highly secure Office 365 hosted solution provides offerings for both large enterprise and small businesses that want powerful online business tools without having to install and manage them on their own.
The sections that follow provide introductions for users on what you can do with SkyDrive and with SharePoint 2010. But you’ll also find some basics to help you determine the right cloud solution for your particular business requirements.
Learn more about this topic from Documents, Presentations, and Workbooks: Using Microsoft® Office to Create Content That Gets Noticed.
Get expert techniques and best practices for creating professional-looking documents, slide presentations, and workbooks—and apply these skills as you work with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint®, and Excel® in Office 2010 or Office for Mac 2011. This hands-on guide provides constructive advice and advanced, timesaving tips to help you produce compelling content that delivers—in print or on screen. Work smarter, not harder!